Solo Anal: Getting Started with Anal Masturbation

Anal masturbation a.k.a. solo anal play is one of the best and most comfortable ways to get started with anal pleasure.

Sure, exploring anal play with a partner is a lot of fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when you’re on your own, you can experiment with different things, or stop and start anytime you want, without needing to navigate situations with someone else.

Anal Masturbation 101: Why Should I Try Solo Anal First?

When it comes to first time anal, feeling a finger, toy, or penis can be an unexpected sensation. Practicing anal masturbation solo gives you the chance to be both the giver and the receiver, which is super helpful when you add another person to the mix.

Knowing how anal masturbation feels on both sides of the experience can make things work better when you’re with a partner. A lot of people discover that they’re better givers when they know what it’s like to receive, and vice versa.

An excellent way to get started with anal masturbation is by setting the stage. Many folks fall into the habit of anal fingering or masturbating as quickly and quietly as possible, usually because they learned that it was the best way not to get caught when they were teenagers. But that’s not the most effective way to explore solo anal play.

Anal Masturbation 101: How to Get Started with Solo Anal Play

Turn on some mood lighting or set up some candles. Put some of your favorite sexy music on. Get out your toys and lube, just as if you were creating an enticing place for a lover. Start with some self-pleasure, and take your time with it. Raise some erotic heat before you add anal play.

When you’re ready, lie on your back with your feet on the bed and your knees bent. Try having your knees up or lay them out to the sides. Find a position that gives you easy access to your anus. You can also use a mirror to help you see and notice the different sensations when you touch your anus.

Anal Masturbation and Hygiene

If you prefer to use a glove to keep your hand clean, this is an ideal time to put it on. Folks with a vulva (the external part of the female genitalia) should decide which hand to use for anal play and be careful to not touch the vulva with it. You need to be a little more careful about that since you don’t want to get any body fluids from the anus into the vagina.

Anal Masturbation Techniques

Get some lube on your fingers and massage around the outside of your anus. Try doing a lighter touch, and then add a little more pressure. See how it feels to focus on just one spot or trace circles around the entire opening. Are there places that feel more sensitive? Are there places that it feels better to touch?

Place your fingertip over the opening and take a deep breath. Can you feel the anus expand and soften as you inhale? Can you feel it contract as you exhale? Not everyone can so don’t worry if you don’t. It’ll usually happen with some practice. If you can feel the anus relax as you inhale and squeeze as you exhale, you’ve discovered one of the best ways to make anal penetration easier: deep, slow breathing.

Don’t forget to keep the erotic energy going. Stroke your genitals with your other hand or use a vibrator. It might take some practice to do both at the same time, but it’ll pay off. Follow the pleasure and see where it leads you.

Going Further with Solo Anal Play

You can perform most of the external massage moves on yourself, so try stroking your anus, pulsing your fingers, finger walking, or making circles. Whatever feels good to you.

And when you’re ready to try penetration, you can use the same moves that you’d do with a partner. Remember to go slow and focus on pleasure. If something doesn’t feel right or if you need to back off, no problem. You can always come back to this in a little bit.

Keep going with the other self-pleasuring you’re doing. As you get more turned on, does the anal play feel different? Are there moments when your anus squeezes or relaxes? Are there patterns to pay attention to? Different people have different experiences with that, so knowing how your body works will make it easier if you want to do this with someone else.

If you bring yourself to orgasm, you’ll probably notice that your anus squeezes at the same time. What happens afterward? Do the muscles relax and open up? Do they tighten down? Knowing that can help you enjoy receiving anal play with a partner. If you tighten down, you might need them to slow down or hold still after you orgasm. That’s super helpful information to have.

When you know more about your body, and you know more about how anal pleasure feels, it’ll be much easier to try anal play with a partner. Plus, you might discover that you enjoy including anal stimulation during your solo sex. And in the end, this is all about feeling good. All it takes is a little information and some practice to make the most of your pleasure!

Solo Anal: Getting Started with Anal Masturbation originally appeared on b-vibe.com

Retailer Tips for Flourishing Springtime Sales

As winter turns to spring, and the weather gets a little hotter, people get a lot steamier. Spring is clinically proven to be a time when people experience a physical, spiritual and emotional awakening. Inevitably, their sex drives follow suit. This re-activated sexual energy ignites their libido and the curiosity to break out of sexual ruts. All of this amounts to an excellent opportunity for retailers to help customers harness their sexual energy, ignite that curiosity, and purchase the right products. Many people find themselves living in a place of sexual complacency. Let me explain how to break this cycle.

The year 2020 has changed the way people behave in so many unique ways. We have found new systems to date and even to have sex. While so many have been quarantined in their homes, we need new inspiration to feel sexy. Sex toys have made their way into mainstream media, and have become a household conversation. Because of all of this, the way sex toys are sold also needs to evolve.

Right now, curiosities are sparking. Retailers need to take the opportunity to help people begin to explore their curiosities. Selling adult products is not about stacking the shelves; it is about selling an experience.

You are bringing confidence and curiosity to the customer with every successive purchase.

Here are four tips on how you can help your customer make their next purchase before they even realize what they are looking for!

Stay up-to-date on trending topics and why the topic is trending

Many people make purchases around what is trending in the media. Think about how the BDSM world changed after “Fifty Shades of Gray” became a bestseller. With the popularity of books and movies, BDSM has become accepted and enfolded more deeply into mainstream conversation. With this progression, people feel more comfortable having conversations with their partners that they might not have had before, leading them into retail stores for new and exciting products.

Currently, millennials are the ones steering the progression of sexual exploration. As this generation of sexual pioneers peruses the aisles, either in your store or virtually, retailers need to be aware of what millennials are influenced by, and what is causing them to react. For example, gender fluidity has never been more accepted. Toys that blur the line between male/female or the traditional gender roles are becoming more the norm.

Be the trendsetter

Staying up-to-date with trends will keep your retail store in the game, but being the trendsetter will make all the difference. Being aware of what is trending today, and possessing the knowledge of how all your products go together, directly illustrates what customers will be looking to explore next.

Create a landing page that steers customers’ attention to the items you feel they have not even thought of yet. Staying one step ahead of the curve will send the message to your customers that you are the authority in the sex industry that they have been looking for. Customer loyalty will build as they begin looking to your expertise to open their minds toward the next exciting experience.

To use the prior example, the progression of gender fluidity has opened the door for all to seek the pleasures that sex toys offer. There is a misconception that sex toys are only for females. Nowadays, we’re seeing the introduction of masculine-looking massagers that are opening the door for males to embrace the idea of using sex toys to indulge in pleasure.

Full customer experience

Through the pandemic, people have shifted to purchasing online. Yes, there is an obvious element of convenience, confidentiality, and for many, a renewed emotional safety that made this a preferred choice. Being in the industry, we sometimes forget what it is like for the consumer to commit to these purchases. We become immune to the taboo that many still feel about sex toys.

With this being said, it is no secret that visiting a brick-and-mortar store offers a unique experience. Customers still need to be reminded of this excitement. Purchasing in person can open the customer’s mind to ideas that they may not have considered. Looking at all the items on the shelf, it can be exciting and arousing in and of itself! Sometimes motivating the customer to talk about what it is they are into, or are excited by, can be very challenging. However, this personal interaction affords the customer the ability to explore and experience products they may not have ever considered. It is the retailer’s efforts here that make all the difference — a difference that creates an open conversation between the associate and customer, allowing them to feel comfortable talking about new and exciting avenues.

Yes, of course some customers may not want to interact with an associate, but those that do will inevitably benefit from an elevated experience in the form of expertise and familiarity with their products.

The bottom line here is that learning what the customer has been drawn to in the past can help you introduce them to the next great toy; the next experience. Helping them brainstorm about key accessories and helping them learn how sex toys can go together may be the thing that unlocks a series of wonderful sexual realities for the customer.

The introduction of mutual pleasure

Going beyond the service and becoming an authority figure in the industry means you need to know what a consumer will want before they even want it. It becomes the retailer’s job to help educate the customers on what can be possible in the bedroom.

The introduction of couple’s play sets or toys that both partners can enjoy is one example that opens the customer’s eyes to the idea that the same toy can satisfy both people. Try placing these items in key areas in the store to re-enforce this concept. The result will no doubt be that these products will fly off the shelves.

In summary, spring is approaching, and things are heating up! It is important for retailers to understand that people are impacted by the media, current trends, and the societal acceptance of new sexual topics. Toys are escalating as a household item. Retailers can capitalize on helping customers accept new ideas around sex toys through understanding current trends, setting new trends, and becoming an authority figure with ideas to enhance any situation.

Retailer Tips for Flourishing Springtime Sales by Melinda DeSeta originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Promote Wellness, Education Through Our Own Communication

 

As part of the adult goods market, I bet that you’re open to talking about sex toys — at least with your peers in the industry.

At every stage of the chain, from manufacturing through distribution all the way to retail, sex toy talk is our bread and butter.

But do you openly discuss sex toys with your partner? How about your wider family? What about your friends? Would you mention sex toys to the acquaintance asking about your workday?

If you’re anything like me, you probably would — as long as it feels right.

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t talk about sex toys with my mum. She helped me furnish my bondage space and my gold whip has proven to be the perfect finishing touch for her favorite little black dress.

I’ve even asked my dad to review cock rings and masturbators. (Mum passed on the feedback.)

Reading this, you’d probably assume that I had the most liberal upbringing imaginable. Truth be told, it was very conservative. Dating was out of the question, let alone sex.

So, to explain what led me to this industry is a story for another day.

For now, the point is that my openness and, let’s face it, my tendency to overshare, has had a positive impact on my relationship with my parents. If I can talk to them about sex toys, then I can talk to them about anything.

Yes, I’m lucky that they are receptive to what I have to say and always listen without judgement, but that’s not the case for everyone, whether the other party in the conversation is a parent, partner, friend or otherwise.

Why we should open up

Now imagine that it’s not you who’s talking about sex toys, but rather, the customer. That person for whom you designed, manufactured, distributed or retailed that toy wants to tell someone about it. But for whatever reason — or reasons — particular to their situation, they feel unable to.

As part of the adult goods industry, we can play a role in normalizing sex toy talk and encouraging open and honest discussion — actually, make that celebration — of the role that these products play as a healthy and acceptable part of everyday life.

When we are comfortable talking about sex toys with those who are outside of our industry, we are better placed to advise customers who want to share their experiences, either conversationally or intimately, with people in their lives.

So, here are five tips on how we can normalize sex toy talk in our own lives and help customers to do the same.

  1. Be negotiable.

Talking about sexual activity, whether it involves toys or not, can be a delicate topic for some people. If you’re comfortable with it but others in the conversation are not, then negotiate a middle ground, which includes everyone but alienates no one.

Rather than adopting an all-or-nothing approach, meeting people in the middle and establishing ground rules for what is (and is not) okay to discuss creates a safe space that can help people to open up gradually over time.

Requesting, not demanding, that the topic be discussed and framing it as of mutual interest, not self-indulgence, can go a long way towards getting people on board.

  1. Be respectful.

Establishing boundaries for what can be discussed is one thing, remaining within them is another. If you can talk about sex toys in a way that will make others receptive to it, this will make them more likely to not only listen, but also contribute to the conversation.

They key is to remain respectful of their comfort level, remembering that people will not always verbalize their discomfort. So, pay attention to body language for clues as to how your sex toy talk is making others feel. In some cases, you may have to narrow the boundaries you first thought were okay, while in others you may get to expand them!

  1. Be honest.

When we let people in, others often let us in. (No pun intended.) What I mean is that talking honestly about our own experiences with sex toys — and that doesn’t have to mean usage — can show a certain vulnerability that people appreciate. In return, you’d be surprised how much people begin to open up to you about themselves.

Being honest about your experiences can also be educational. Frankness about your likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn’t work for you, might be exactly what someone wanted to hear but was too afraid to ask. When your sex toy talk is reciprocated, you might even learn a thing or two.

  1. Be non-judgmental.

Regardless of whether you’re talking to someone who’s new to discussing or using sex toys, or a seasoned pro at either, there are times it’s best to just listen.

While you may have your opinions about what they are saying, part of normalizing sex toy talk is not passing judgment on someone else’s experiences. Here, it’s not only your words and tone that matter, but also your body language.

Use neutral terms, a calm tone and soothing language, and if you’re going to offer advice, frame it as a suggestion, not a criticism or a command. Go for warm, positive, open gestures, and maintain eye contact without staring. Ensuring your body language matches your oral language will show that you are sincere and trustworthy.

  1. Be supportive.

If someone is opening up to sex toy talk, then be supportive. Whether they are discussing needs or desires they have already acted on, or are contemplating, showing that you are there for them in a respectful and non-judgmental way reinforces the view of sex toys as a healthy and acceptable part of adult life. As long as the activity is safe, consensual and pleasurable for everyone involved, knowing they have your support can only make them feel even better.

These tips can be an effective way to accelerate the normalizing of conversations around sex toys and their role as a wellness tool. I’m not saying we need to tell anyone and everyone, “I make/sell/use dildos and vibrators.” Rather, if we want to increase mainstream awareness and celebration of sex toys, then we need to be open about our experiences and open to tailoring our message to best suit our audience.

How to Promote Wellness, Education Through Our Own Communication by Vanessa Rose originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Develop a Video Series for Your Pleasure Brand

A new stage of the digital age is here.

The past 12 months have made it clear that we must be prepared to meet our customers in virtual spaces. The ways that we have all come to expect digital engagement over the last year will have a lasting impact long after the pandemic is over. Video content is one of the essential tools for any business looking to reach new customers, engage their loyal followers or create a thriving online presence. Video content is a way to reach people around the world. It is also an excellent tool for driving sales, training, introducing people to the world of pleasure products or resources, creating fun, engaging interactions with your brand, or telling your brand story.

For a lot of businesses, video production is not yet integrated into workflow or operations; but you don’t need a recording studio and film quality equipment to get started. Here are some tips for overcoming common hurdles relating to content development and technical capacity.

Let’s start with identifying what kind of content to turn into videos. Your marketing team is likely well-versed in what differentiates your brand in the market. Start there. Is it a unique product offering or an incredibly diverse selection? Do you offer unrivaled convenience, quality or pricing? Whatever sets your brand apart, make sure that is the focal point of your messaging to start. And then? Keep it simple!

Keep It Simple and Focused

Effective videos tell a story, but think of it like an elevator pitch rather than a cinematic journey. Your brand story may involve many twists and turns and unique challenges, but you will lose your audience if your message is long-winded or complicated. It can be helpful to distill your messaging down to one or two key points or break it out into multiple videos with each highlighting a different point or aspect of your message. The process of scripting or outlining the information you want to cover and then paring it down to two or three sentences can be really helpful. You want to try to distill the important information you really want to convey and create focused content. If there are points or themes that are left out when you condense the information in this way – great! You have content for another video.

Short and Sweet

In addition to keeping the information in your videos focused, you also want to be mindful of viewers’ attention span. Current statistics show that on social media people watch on average the first 27 seconds of every video. Social media has impacted our attention span. If you peruse an average YouTube channel, videos are often only a few minutes long with complicated topics being broken into playlists so that information stays punchy and digestible. If you cannot condense your message into 30 seconds, don’t fret. A compelling hook in the first 30 seconds will ensure that viewers stay tuned. A couple questions to answer in the first 30 seconds to help gain viewers’ attention … “What will the viewer learn?” “What sets your offering (product, service, resource, etc) apart?” “How will this information benefit the viewer?” For instance, a strong hook can be something like “If you’re like me and don’t have a huge budget or time to invest in your self-care, then you have to check out…”

Once you’ve got your viewers’ attention, apply the same principle you used to create a focused theme for the video. Make sure that your points are delivered as directly and succinctly as possible. Having cue cards with a few keywords for each point you want to highlight can be a helpful way to keep you or your presenter on track. Being clear about the points you want to cover, what your “call to action” is, and how you want to wrap up your video will keep you on track and ensure that your delivery is short and sweet – just like viewers have come to expect.

Have Fun!

One of the most engaging approaches (to creating any kind of content) is to present topics that you are most passionate about. If viewers can relate to you or perceive your excitement, they are much more likely to engage with your content. The process of simplifying information and preparing your content in the most focused way possible is an important preparation step for creating polished videos. When it comes time to shoot a video – have fun with it and approach it as a unique opportunity to connect with your audience. If you are not in the space to play, have fun, and connect with the camera then it’s likely that it will show through in the video. It takes a very experienced presenter to work through tightness or frustration on camera. Sometimes it is much more effective to shoot a video when inspiration strikes and you’re in the mood to be “on” than it is to force yourself through prepared material when it doesn’t feel right. An equation for success with creating video content is going into it with a strong understanding of the message you want to deliver, preparing simple and focused talking points, and then letting go of the prep and letting your authentic enthusiasm for the material show through.

Production Standards Don’t Matter as Much as You Think

High-quality, studio-produced video content will only get you so far. Yes, if you are delivering your own branded video platform that you want to reflect your brand’s innovative approach, then low production standards will not reflect well on your brand. However, if you are aiming to connect with brand lovers, build appreciation for your unique offering or introduce pleasure concepts to a mainstream audience, the messaging and the presenter’s ability to authentically convey your message are much more important than the lighting, editing and graphics. For instance, a standard video conferencing camera or a high-quality phone camera (as long as it is not set on selfie mode), and a simple background are all you need to get started. The prevalence of digital content also has given rise to online resources with copious tips on how to create your own video content from your home or office. Starting out with strong messaging and low investment in your equipment gives you the opportunity to test content and see what your audience most responds to. This approach allows you to grow and build your video archive over time and in an informed way.

Whether you’re looking to develop useful training tools or effective customer engagement resources, video content is an important skillset to have in your marketing toolbox. With these simple guidelines, anyone can create fun, engaging and effective videos!

How to Develop a Video Series for Your Pleasure Brand by Sarah Tomchesson originally appeared in XBIZ

Amazon: Adult Retailer Tips for Staying Vigilant

We all know the complaint, “I can’t compete with Amazon!” Of course, you can’t. You’re not Amazon and you’re not trying to be. You have displays, testers and educated staff to help the customer buy the right product for them, not the trial-and-error method of Amazon.

Below you’ll find tips to identify products and sellers on Amazon in order to validate your pricing and assure the customer.

Knowing how to read Amazon, beyond the price, is key to communicating to in-store shoppers.

We’ve all seen it. A customer approaches you with a cellphone and you see the Amazon logo and know what’s coming. They want the item for the same price or they want a discount because the item is less expensive elsewhere.

Rather than getting mad immediately, you really should take a close look at the item the customer is viewing: the seller, the shipper, the description and the price.

Identify the Parties.

Who is the seller and who is the shipper?

For example, there are independent sellers that use Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA). How can you tell? It is shipping from Amazon, but Amazon is not the seller. You can find out more info, including the seller’s business name and address, by clicking on the seller name.

Products can also be sold and shipped by Amazon, which means that Amazon bought the items from the manufacturer and is selling their inventory. These items are likely legitimate, but don’t take it for granted though; look at the brands, too.

Now that you know who is selling and shipping, what about the products?

Is the product displayed really the same item that you’re selling? Here are some clues:

What is the brand shown? Is it Cloud 9 Novelties, Doc Johnson, Evolved Novelties? Those are valid brand names. What if it’s “Cloud Nine,” “Dr. Johnson” or “The Evolved?” Those are not valid brand names and the item being sold is suspect.

What are the images? Are they showing the known packaging with a product that doesn’t match the description? Does the seller-provided description match the description you already know? Any of these things give you an idea if the product is legitimate or not.

Know your manufacturers. Many prohibit third-party sellers. If you see an item you know is restricted, then it is a bad seller or fraudulent product.

What about the price? What is the MSRP on the item? Is the Amazon price shown impossibly below that? Manufacturers often set a Minimum Advertised Price policy equal to MSRP. This is to aid retail stores from being undercut by online sellers.

There are several combinations of sellers, brands, text descriptions and other details that let you prove to the customer that the listing is a fake or the seller is “fly-by-night.” Here are some elements to watch out for: 

  1. Symbols mixed with text. This slows the Amazon bots down from finding and deleting them.
  2. Text that looks like nothing but search terms such as brand names that aren’t related to the item.
  3. Brand names that are incorrect, but the images match the real products.
  4. Brand names that are correct, but the image is not the real item.
  5. Sellers with a name and address that make no sense. They might have no real name, just letters strung together. The location is an offshore address.
  6. The seller just started business.
  7. The seller has no ratings or has poor ratings.

What can you do?

Let your customer know that the Amazon seller is not selling the same/actual product you carry. If you want to help the cause, report the listing to the manufacturer’s brand ambassador, your salesperson or your distributor. Be sure to provide all of the detailed information — ASIN, item or seller. A link is helpful, too. When you can take the time to alert the brand owner, you help everyone.

If you are shown an item priced at MAP by a long-time seller with good ratings, it is likely a valid product and good seller, but you have an advantage: “The Amazon item is priced without me, my experience and my beautiful store. I’m here to help you make the best selection, make sure the product is working correctly and I’ll be here after the sale. You can also take this baby home right now.”

Here are some more ways to encourage customers to shop in your store:

  1. “While this product is probably the real deal, you need to be careful with Amazon and pleasure products. There are many problematic and fraudulent sellers.”
  2. “If the price seems too good to be true, you may want to think twice about ordering it.”
  3. Unless the customer is using Prime, they might be paying for shipping. Shipping coupled with the price of the product isn’t far off from the in-store price. “At Amazon, you’re paying for the product and the shipping. At my store, you don’t have to pay shipping.”
  4. “They are shipping you a product from XYZ country. It may arrive in a few days or maybe six weeks.”
  5. “Check the seller refund policy. You might find you have no recourse if it’s defective, never shows up or if you get a different product. You can complain, but that doesn’t mean you’ll receive a full refund.”

Amazon sellers don’t just sell bad items though. There are many legitimate sellers just like you who are trying to make a profit. They have their challenges to maintain Amazon seller standards.

Amazon customers can always file a complaint if the product isn’t what they ordered, or is broken or defective. Too many complaints will get the seller shut down. However, that doesn’t help the customer right now. You are the one that helps the customer right now.

Customers will show you good sellers with lower prices. That’s true of any business. How would you handle a customer that said, “The store down the street has this for $5 less?” You might say, “Yes, they do. We have differences, we aren’t a franchise of the store down the street, and we are not a catalog.” Or “They do. I can match their price today if you show me the item and price.”

Be a trusted advisor. You aren’t trying to compete with Amazon. No one can compete with Amazon on price alone. You have an entirely different, customer-focused business. They are volume; you are about the lifetime value of your customers.

What if customers use you as a showroom and then buy from Amazon? No one can stop them, but you can discourage it. Be your most helpful self. You’re educating, recommending and upselling. You are not using an algorithm that may or may not show related products that people bought together. Plus, they get to take the item home today, not in three-to-five business days.

There are many strategies used by retail stores to maintain and increase customer engagement.

Store “dollars” have been popular because they work. For every $XX.xx the customer spends, they get $X.xx in Store Dollars.

Hosting events is another strategy. Try hosting funny or educational events like a beginner BDSM class, or a comedy night or fashion show.

We all live in an Amazon world, whether it’s AWS Servers, Amazon Pay, Amazon sellers, and on and on. It is not possible to be all things to all consumers from your store. But it is possible to market your differences!

Amazon: Adult Retailer Tips for Staying Vigilant by Ann Houlihan originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Evaluate, Sell CBD-Infused Intimacy Products

Photo by Kimzy Nanney on Unsplash

Whenever we start talking about CBD (cannabidiol) infused products that are specifically designed to enhance sex and intimacy, many times the response is either a confused look or a knowing smirk. Interest in CBD sexual enhancement products such as oils, balms, gels, salves, bath soaks and more is growing quickly. This isn’t surprising as more people are starting to discover the many benefits of adding CBD to their sexual exploration.

However, there’s still a lot of mystery surrounding these products and many customers eager to integrate CBD into their sexual repertoire usually have more questions than answers. There’s not a lot of consistent and accurate information available and the content and integrity of these products varies widely. Consumers need to know how to use CBD intimate products, as well as how to evaluate and choose products that will work well for them.

In case it wasn’t already obvious, CBD and sex go well together for a variety of reasons. Using CBD topical products feels great and can elevate the sexual experience. What is it about CBD that’s so magical though?

The answer lies in CBD being a vasodilator. When used intimately, it increases blood flow to the erogenous zones and makes them more receptive to touch. It also has many soothing and relaxing properties, which makes it a wonderful addition to foreplay and aftercare. Since CBD does take a little while to soak into the skin, it’s a good idea to utilize it during foreplay and throughout the entire experience to feel its full effects.

Mentioning the words “intimacy” or “intimate products” prompts most people to immediately think of sexual intercourse. Is it any wonder? Sex is an incredibly intimate act on so many levels. For many people, intimacy and sex are quite synonymous. However, it’s important to remember that although sex and intimacy are very closely related, they are not mutually exclusive. Intimacy can occur in all sorts of ways before or even after the “main event.” It can be a CBD-infused bath that includes a slow, sensual scrub-down with an infused sugar scrub. It can be a gentle neck rub or a full-blown erotic massage with an infused oil. It can even be a tender application of salve to a sore spot or problem area by a trusted partner. For those who are into BDSM, the time spent practicing aftercare with a partner can be a particularly intimate — and even vulnerable — experience. Tantra leaves an entire realm of possibilities for combining CBD with intimacy before sex ever occurs. All of these describe very different ways of being intimate and CBD can easily be incorporated to help enhance the experience of each.

Of course, CBD products can be used during intercourse as well. It’s important for consumers to read the label on the product they intend to use to ensure that they’re being used correctly. For example, a bath soak makes for phenomenal foreplay, but you wouldn’t want to use it internally. On the other hand, many massage oils, balms and gels are quite enjoyable to use directly on the genitals during partnered or solo sex. For products being sold in brick-and-mortar stores, having trained and knowledgeable associates who are able to educate consumers on-the-spot is a critically valuable asset because let’s be real, most people don’t find reading labels to be a good time, even if they do provide important information.

Now that you know all about how to use, let’s talk about how to help shoppers choose the right formula. After all, knowing how to use CBD intimate enhancement products is one thing, but knowing how to evaluate them is quite another. Due to inconsistent and limited product regulation, it’s largely up to the product manufacturer to ensure the quality and integrity of the product they’re producing. “Is the CBD in the product pure?” “How much CBD is in the product and is it in the correct quantity to be effective?” These are some of the questions that educated consumers often ask, and businesses selling CBD sexual enhancement products should be able to answer them. If the CBD in a product isn’t lab-tested, there’s no way of knowing what’s in that bottle, jar, or tube, so be sure to ask to see third-party lab results.

Similarly, it is important to evaluate the other ingredients in a CBD-infused intimate body product. These complementary ingredients do have a direct impact on the efficacy of the product as well as the way the product smells and feels. Many people have certain allergens or ingredients such as parabens that they’re actively looking to avoid. If the product in question is to be used with latex condoms, it should explicitly state that it’s safe to use with latex. Although water-soluble, CBD is a budding area of interest; the vast majority of CBD products on the market are oil-based as CBD is naturally oil soluble. Similarly, even if a product is water-based, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s oil free. This particular piece of information is, unfortunately, often glossed over.

When evaluating CBD sexual enhancement products, there really is no standard. That’s why consumer education is crucial to having a mind-blowing CBD bedroom experience. Consumers can elevate their own experiences by taking the time to research the product they’re interested in by reading product labels and delving into reliable articles on the web. However, manufacturers also have the responsibility to reach out and provide information via their websites, blogs, social media and in-store training. Of course, educated store associates can be a critical point of education for in-store shoppers by answering some of the previously addressed questions and beyond. They regularly aid customers in opening the door to the wonderful world of CBD sexual enhancement products.

CBD-infused sexual enhancement products have really helped to change people’s perceptions of cannabis and what it can do for them. However, we would challenge everyone to pause and think about all the elements that often contribute to having a great sexual experience and how CBD could easily be incorporated into each of them. As you’re browsing for a new CBD infused sex enhancement product to offer your customers, make sure to keep in mind the ingredients. Take the time to read the labels carefully and ask as many questions as you need to from the manufacturer. Practice thorough due diligence and your customers will be handsomely rewarded with an explosively erotic experience they won’t soon forget!

How to Evaluate, Sell CBD-Infused Intimacy Products by Raven Faber and Heather Bahr originally appeared in XBIZ

 

Enema Play 101: Top Tips for Beginners

 

Frankly put: enemas are essential for those who want to clean out before backdoor play. For some, they are the main event. Increasingly popular in the BDSM scene, anal douching can be a sensual turn-on for both the giver and receiver, but douching kits found in local drugstores won’t cut it for intense anal stimulation.

Luckily, there are now a wide variety of enema devices made specifically for pleasure. Before we get the advanced stuff, let’s make sure we have the basics down.

How do enemas work?

The process of giving an enema involves putting warm water in the rectum and working it into the lower intestine to help empty the bowels. It’s recommended that the liquid be held inside the body between five and 30 minutes to give it a chance to soften the stool, and most choose to empty the water on the toilet for obvious reasons.

What are the benefits of anal douching?

Sometimes enemas are performed for medical reasons, to clean out before anal play, or purely for pleasure. When it comes to enemas and sex, one of the most common reasons people do it is to prepare for ass play. It isn’t always necessary to douche before anal, but some people feel more comfortable taking steps to minimize the potential for mess.

Using an enema before anal play can also help the receiver prepare for larger things to come: as it fills with water, the rectum gently relaxes and expands. This feeling of fullness is the precise reason why some people find it so arousing. Packed with nerve endings, the anus is a sexually sensitive area, and pressure in the rectum can stimulate other areas, too, like the prostate or G-spot.

Anal douching is often regarded as taboo, which also can be a turn on, and it puts the receiver in a vulnerable position both physically and emotionally. These aspects make it a natural fit for BDSM. Add to that the immense potential for power-play and humiliation and douching becomes the perfect kinky activity.

Beginner enemas

For those just starting out or looking for a gentler experience, a basic anal douching kit is all that’s required. Certain enema products include a pump and hose nozzle for extra precision and control, as well as bubble nozzle that has holes around the tip for extra-deep cleaning.

Advanced enemas

For those looking for a deeper clean, some enemas can be attached to a shower to supply an endless stream of water straight from the source. Additionally, specialty plugs, such as those that are hollow or inflatable, can provide a feeling of fullness.

Enema tips and safety

Most common types of enemas use plain water or salt water (two tablespoons of salt per liter of water). Temperature is important. Too cold and the water could cause intestinal cramps, too hot may scald the intestines. Make sure the water is slightly above body temperature (no more than about 105 degrees) and never forced in. Occasionally, people use different types of liquid like milk, coffee, or alcohol. This is not recommended. It can be risky and have dire health consequences because the absorption rate through the colon is accelerated.

The most comfortable position for receiving an enema is on the back with knees bent toward the chest or on the hands and knees. These positions help straighten out the natural curve in the colon to make entry easier. It is also important to have a bathroom nearby because the urge to release can come on strong and quick.

Whether used strictly for hygiene purposes or for added pleasure, more people are into anal douching than one might expect, and there’s a huge selection of tools and accessories out there to recommend. Always remember to ask customers what their intended uses are and be prepared to suggest something beyond the basic bulb. Enema kits designed for pleasure can make getting clean deliciously dirty!

Enema Play 101: Top Tips for Beginners By Rebecca Weinberg originally appeared in XBIZ

How to Host a Successful Consumer Virtual Event

Chances are most of us have been a part of a virtual event in some capacity, especially during the current COVID-19 world, whether we’re watching a panel discussion, an interactive webinar or logging onto Zoom to partake in discussions with colleagues or friends. But what really makes a virtual event a success?

Our consumer marketing team at Lovehoney recently ran three online “sexual happiness” events called Virtual Camp Lovehoney, which were executed across the U.S., U.K. and Australia, where they invited the public to learn and take inspiration from a wide range of leading sexperts in virtual workshops.

Following the success of these events, I decided I would share their tips on how to virtualize your own events.

Planning and Promotion

With all of the technology on offer, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. You might be asking yourself, “What platforms should I use?” “How will they integrate together?” “How will the overall attendee experience be affected?”

We chose to run Virtual Camp Lovehoney through video conferencing platform Zoom. This allowed us to transform our content into a fully formed virtual event in which our panelists could discuss their chosen topics together, plus it also offered additional tools such as chat, Q&As and live polls that allowed the audience to interact. It also gave us the option to video-record the event, so we can exhaust the content post-event on our social media platforms.

As you get into the specific details of what you want your virtual event to look like, it’s important to take into consideration any conflicting time zones when setting an agenda. We scheduled our U.S. workshops for the afternoon, for example, to ensure we were accommodating to both the East Coast and West Coast demographics, so we could ensure we had the greatest number of attendees tuning in.

Social media is one of the best ways to drum up interest before a virtual event. We built a Facebook event prior, which linked to the Virtual Camp Lovehoney landing page, ensuring they were both kept up-to-date with regular posts, introducing each of the speakers.

Keep It Engaging

When participants are spending the day with your brand from the comfort of their own home, there can be no limit to what can drag their attention away from your event. Choosing a diverse pool of speakers who are experts in their field, and will deliver strong and engaging content, is key to maintaining your audience’s attention.

Design particular engagement points throughout each session such as Q&As and polls and ensure speakers are fully briefed before going live, so they know to shout out these functions.

If any product is discussed, allow speakers to become acquainted with them ahead of the event, so they can be woven into conversation in an organic way that won’t come across as advertorial. We used the event as an opportunity to discuss any new products to give them a spotlight.

The Benefits of Going Virtual

In times of uncertainty, going virtual allows us to open our doors to consumers in an intimate way like never before. Virtual Camp Lovehoney widened our demographic for potential attendees considerably, as people could dip in quickly with no travel time and costs.

Although virtual events are certainly the new normal, physical events will eventually return. Virtual events should be seen as a new format to capture your wide range of audiences rather than an alternative, and should be considered as part of a smart marketing strategy.

How to Host a Successful Consumer Virtual Event by Sabrina Earnshaw originally appeared in XBIZ

 

Staying Out of the Shadows on Instagram

With the release of Instagram’s new Terms of Service, you may be worried about how to keep your account safe and secure. Instagram is an amazing tool for promo, but as a platform they fall on the more prudish side of content rules. That means you have to be extra-vigilant.

When you lose an account that you’ve worked hard to build it can be extremely frustrating, especially when you are trying to make your living with an adult brand. Because of the multitude of rules and regulations regarding content, it can be easy to cross a line you didn’t mean to.

But not to fear! We’ve come up with a complete guide on how to help you keep your accounts as ban-proof as possible. While these tips are designed to help you keep your account protected, using good judgement and common sense can be just as useful in ensuring accounts are in good standing.

Rules for Safe-For-Work Content

Because Instagram can be extremely strict in terms of acceptable content, having your account flagged or reported may result in deletion or a shadowban (more on that later!). While nudity is forbidden except in certain situations (such as breastfeeding), you do have a bit more freedom for content. Let’s look at what can’t be shown:

  • No full nudity
  • No depictions of sexual intercourse
  • No visible genitals
  • No up-close fully nude buttocks
  • No visible nipples

The rules for content are very clear, so as long as you stay on the right side of the line, you shouldn’t experience any problems with your account.

However, when you’re building a brand-new account, you want to pay close attention to how you’re expanding your reach. Instagram has some lesser-known rules regarding activity that you may not be aware of. Unfortunately, if you break one of these rules you run the risk of having your account banned.

You always want to err on the side of caution. Instagram can pick up on certain types of language, so be mindful of profanity, and replace it with symbols or emojis to be safe. It’s always best to be PG in your captions and comments!

Rules for Social Media Interactions

In order to build and expand your account you need to follow and interact with other accounts, right? Well, yes, but the way you do it is extremely important. The Instagram algorithm is there specifically to pick up on unusual activity and the measures you take to help your account grow might end up doing the opposite and get your account restricted or shadowbanned.

For example, did you know there are rules about how many accounts you can follow over a certain amount of time, or how many posts you can like without triggering the system? Here it is by the numbers:

For established accounts:

  • max number of likes per hour: 60
  • max number of comments per hour: 60
  • max number of follows per hour: 60
  • max number of messages per hour: 60

For new accounts:

  • max number of likes per hour: 30
  • max number of comments per hour: 30
  • max number of follows/unfollows per hour: 30

Engaging too frequently is a great way to end up with a temporary ban. To Instagram, too many likes or interactions with posts can be seen as potential spamming and lead to a block on your account.

It’s important to keep a close eye on how and when you’re engaging as you build your account, because your best intentions could end up harming your account instead of helping it. That’s the bad news. The good news is that these temporary blocks don’t last forever (but it could be anywhere from two hours to two weeks).

If you do get blocked, there’s only one thing you can do: wait it out. It’s definitely annoying, but it’s also the only way to get your account back on track. But, if you find yourself being banned too frequently it may lead to your account being disabled, and that’s a whole different story.

Disabled or suspended accounts can happen for a variety of reasons. If your account is reported multiple times, if you break the content rules or if you are blocked frequently you may find yourself facing a more permanent punishment, and you’ll have to take certain steps to bring your account back to life…which, unfortunately, isn’t always possible.

Instagram does offer you the option of appealing the suspension, so it’s important to carefully follow the instructions you are given in order to regain your account.

The Trouble With Shadowbanning

The dreaded shadowban is another monster you have to fight when you’re promoting an adult brand on Instagram. What is shadowbanning? That’s when everything seems fine, your account is still active, you’ve received no warning, but in actuality you are blocked from showing up in other people’s feeds.

You may notice that you are seeing a big drop in account engagement, fewer likes and comments, and a lack of new followers … all because no one is seeing your content. A shadowban basically means you’ve been blocked, but you just don’t know it.

Just like blocks or bans, there are many ways to get your account shadowbanned. Here are some of the easiest ways to find yourself in the dark.

  • Using bots or other “quick growth” tools
  • Using broken or banned hashtags
  • Having your account reported
  • Posting or engaging too quickly

Fortunately, unlike a regular ban or suspension, there are ways to remedy a shadowban … as long as you are able to correct the mistake that put you in the shadows in the first place. If you suspect that you’ve been shadowbanned, it may take some time to discover the problem.

The first thing you may want to try is taking an Insta-vacation for a few days to give your account some time to clear. Doing so tells Instagram that you are not over-engaging or pinging any of their algorithms. If you employed the use of bots to grow your account, it’s important to remove them.

Another way to do your due diligence is by researching current banned or broken hashtags and removing any that appear in your posts. As a final step, take the time to review your account for any content that could potentially be reported. That doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and self-censor, but if there is a particular post that could be perceived as problematic, removing it can help lift the shadowban.

Social media is both a blessing and a curse, and when your livelihood is on the line it’s important to adhere to the rules and regulations as carefully as possible to avoid potential bans, blocks and deleted accounts.

Staying Out of the Shadows on Instagram by Brooke Powell originally appeared in XBIZ

A Look at How the Pandemic’s Upgraded Adult Retail Customer Service

Online. That’s where everything is going. Online. There’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t change it. We can’t stop it. All we can do is try to avoid it, which isn’t going to get us very far.

Think about it. Where were you this time last year? On a sofa, on a chair, at a table in a diner chatting with some friends — even if you were alone, by yourself at a table in a restaurant, you were surrounded by people. The server, the cashier, maybe the barista, a chef, a busser cleaning away someone’s used dishes so the next customer could take over that space. Now, where are you? Online. At home. By yourself.

You’re sitting in your bedroom. You’re at your coffee table. You’re using your own internet connection, screen showing that you’re in the waiting room and about ready to get into that networking call, or that meeting, or that virtual birthday party or family gathering because the recent year has caused all of us to become separated in a “restrictive from the real-world” environment.

If you haven’t switched to online, or at least created a massively outward hybrid transition, you’re probably not getting very much traffic through your (virtual) doors at all. The past year has definitely incited change — and change is what brings in the new. Changing how we operate clears the air, opens doors and allows for opportunities we never experienced to become known.

One case in particular is delivery services. Think of the shopping experiences we used to have. We’d drive to the selling location, have to find a place to park, go into the building and locate the items we were looking for, all before having to stand in line and wait to purchase them before we could exit the store to get back to our cars and drive back home. What if we weren’t window-shopping? What if we knew exactly what it was we were looking for and really didn’t have much time to do it? What if we knew a 20-minute trip only really needed three minutes inside that store? Now we have the option to order it ahead of time, and pull right up in front of the doors while an employee brings our purchase right out to us. How amazing is that? Delivery before included purchasing something online and then waiting days or possibly even weeks to get it shipped to us. But the needs of society have changed and the quicker you’re able to recognize those needs — and transition to be able to provide for them — the faster you’ll be able to provide for your clients and customers. Previously even if it was offered, not many people utilized a service from a store where you could just pull up and pick up your order. Now it’s commonplace, and for some people — preferred. How efficient has shopping become now?

How many previous opportunities have now become essential, when before they were simple ideas that were possibly overlooked or even discounted? Like offering a drive-up delivery service? What about conferences? How many conferences were you unable to attend previous to 2020 because of conflicting schedules, and needing travel and hotel accommodations? How has the need for virtual conferences changed in the past year when previously most people would not have considered offering workshops online? How many presentations have you attended where you wish you had recorded it, so you could listen and watch the re-play later, instead of having to take notes to remember later? How many people would you have loved to connect with during these events but were unable to attend for whatever reason?

How many of your customers’ needs seemed insurmountable previously that now have become the norm for you to cater to, now that you have figured out how to adapt? Now because of having to, you’ve changed. What other ideas now seem more plausible that previously didn’t catch on because their value wasn’t inherent?

What about connections with others and being able to appear and deeply connect in different places across the world from each other in a matter of minutes? Repeatedly? Globally, everyone can now leave a call in one part of the world and instantaneously connect with others in real time for any reason without it seeming out of place.

Now we are doing conference calls, networking, workshops with break-out rooms, connecting, learning, buying and selling from the comfort of our devices… no matter where we are or how we are dressed. Even the world’s children are interacting this way in order to obtain their educations. Everyone is. So I ask you… where are you at? Are you affecting the world internationally by utilizing the air space to present yourself and mingle with others online? Are you connecting, providing services, creating networks, initiating change and finding solutions impacting your customers? If you’re not… you should be.

A Look at How the Pandemic’s Upgraded Adult Retail Customer Service by Dr. Lee-Anne Francois-Dornbusch originally appeared in XBIZ